Oklahoma Department of Agriculture, Food and Forestry Urges Caution During 4th of July Holiday
ODAFF - July 1, 2022 4:45 pm
Forest, grass and brush fires are far more likely to be started on July 4th than on any other day of the year. In the face of that sobering statistic, Oklahoma Forestry Services is urging an extra measure of caution during traditional holiday activities such as campfires, cookouts and fireworks for Independence Day this year.
Even with recent rains in the state, drought is creeping back into areas of western and southern Oklahoma, making conditions ripe for rapidly spreading wildfires.
“As people prepare to celebrate the Fourth of July, we are asking them to be careful with outside fires,” said State Forester Mark Goeller. “We are also hoping they will be extra cautious while using fireworks in light of reemerging drought conditions and wildfire potential.”
Thousands of wildfires have been sparked over the Independence Day holiday during the past 30 years according the National Fire Prevention Association. Fireworks were to blame for more than half of those. Hot and dry conditions enable sparks and falling embers to more easily ignite trees, shrubs and other vegetation. The slightest breeze can carry that fire far and wide.
“This is certainly not meant to spoil anyone’s holiday fun,” Goeller said. “We are only asking our neighbors around the state to be careful and use common sense.”
OFS is offering the following tips for safer holiday fun:
– Put barbecue grills over bare dirt or other non-flammable surfaces; consider using gas grills.
– Build campfires in open, level spots away from overhanging branches; use designated fire rings when available or required.
– Keep a hose, bucket of water and wet towels nearby to extinguish small fires.
– Keep fireworks away from buildings, dry grass and brush.
– Dispose of used fireworks in a bucket of water.
Oklahoma Forestry Services is the state’s lead wildland firefighting agency. For additional information about wildfires, visit http://forestry.ok.gov